Healthy You - Every Day

Burn Care Do's and Don’ts

Knowing what not to do when it comes to a burn is as important as knowing what to do

Burn Treatment

Many burn injuries can be prevented, but accidents do happen. “If you or someone with you suffers a burn injury, it’s important you know what to do and what not to do,” says Daniel Lozano, MD, LVHN's Chief, Department of Surgery- Division of Burn and surgeon with LVHN's Burn Recovery Center

Here are burn injury do's and don’ts.

Do: Remove clothing that has been burned or soaked with hot fluid or chemicals, and jewelry in the affected area.
Don't: Remove burned clothing that is stuck to the body.

Do: Run tap water or room-temperature water over the burn immediately. It stops the burning process, decreases the pain and prevents or reduces swelling.
Don't: Use very cold water or ice on a burn. It can cause more skin damage.

Do: (In the event of a severe burn) apply a clean, dry cloth to the burned area after it is cooled and seek medical care.
Don't: (In the event of a severe burn) apply ointments, jellies, sprays, first aid creams or butter.

Do: See a doctor if blisters are large or contain a cloudy fluid, or if the burned area is oozing fluid.
Don't: Break open small blisters with clear fluid inside because this could let germs into the wound.

Do: See a doctor if:

  • The burn is white, pink, red or brown; or appears dry, leathery or charred.
  • The burn is larger than them victim’s palm.
  • Hands, feet, face, eyes or genitalia are burned.
  • Electricity or chemicals caused the burn.
  • Smoke or toxic fumes affected the person.
  • The person has a chronic health condition such as diabetes.
  • The person is an infant, young child or senior citizen.
  • The person complains of being cold or is shivering. (It’s OK to cover him or her with a blanket.)

Don't: Assume the burn injury is minor. Even a small burn can be serious depending on its location and the age of the victim.

LVHN offers one of the nation's most advanced burn centers. Learn more about the Burn Recovery Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.

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